Ukraine opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko hammered his presidential rival for stealing votes as the two men faced off duringtheir sole televised debate days ahead of a historic re-run election.
"There is one reason why we are here -- the election of November 21 was stolen by my opponent and his team," Viktor Yushchenko said, speaking in Ukrainian, in his opening remarks in reference to a vote officially won by his rival but later annulled by the supreme court because of fraud. "You stole three million votes," he told his opponent Viktor Yanukovich, a prime minister who has taken a leave for the campaign.
The phrase set the tone for the rest of the nearly two-hour debate --Yushchenko, confident and on steady moral ground, challenging a Yanukovich who often rambled and at times seemed resigned to defeat. "Yushchenko was 100 percent sure that he will win the election and Yanukovich was 90 percent sure that he is going to lose," said Kostyantyn Kvurt, an analyst in Kiev.
This is what we saw. Reminds me of the biblical passage,"If the trumpet sound an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle." This can't be a good sign for Yanukovych supporters.
(Action Ukraine Report #268)